It’s unusual for gas prices to increase during the month of December, but that’s exactly what’s happening this year — forcing many drivers to say goodbye to below $2 a gallon gas!
Read more: Why you should never ‘top off’ your gas tank
Rising gas prices: What you need to know
The sudden spike is due to a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, which is about 4.5%, beginning in January 2017.
AAA reports that the national average has increased for two weeks since the OPEC oil production agreement on November 30.
“Retail prices have steadily increased following the news of the OPEC agreement, but the effectiveness of the deal and continued market impacts will hinge on all countries implementing the agreed to production levels,” AAA said in a news release.
The national average was $2.22 a gallon on December 14.
Although that’s up 20 cents from the same time last year, it’s still about 80 cents away from the dreaded $3 a gallon mark, when filling up really starts to affect our budgets.
Here’s what to expect in 2017
So can we expect to pay $3 a gallon in 2017? Analysts told USA Today that it’s certainly possible in some parts of the country, but the national average is unlikely to reach that high.
In other words, places that normally pay the most for gas, like California, may see $3 gas again.
The deal reached by OPEC and non-OPEC producers to limit oil output is meant to reduce global oversupply and rebalance the market. However, U.S. shale oil producers may increase production in response.
The bottom line is that while you may have to pay more for gas in 2017, the temporary impact of OPEC’s decision shouldn’t break your budget.
5 ways to save money on gas
In the meantime, you can always search for the lowest gas prices in your area using an app like GasBuddy, plus remember these common sense tips to get the best gas mileage:
- Don’t drive too fast
- Lay off the hard braking and acceleration
- Don’t add unnecessary drag
- Stick to regular gas
- Avoid driving around with a cold engine